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APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: MONEY!!!! Today’s basic transcript is all about money mostly. It begins with DEED asking you to relay JOB OPENINGS directly to them and they will publicize your company. It begins TODAY and is called #GOODJOBSNOW.
Today’s topics:
—Virus trendline (not promising)
—Covid Fatigue (Simple solutions to improve)
—#GoodJobsNow DEED Campaign begins TODAY (details)
   (If you are having trouble finding applicants, this is for you)
—Health Insurance Open Enrollment time (new options)
—Covid Protocols (social gatherings targeted)
—Paid sick leave provisions to expire
   -Is unemployment taxable
   -Can employer withhold taxes on UI
   -Can DEED withhold taxes on $600/$300 payments
   -People are going be be surprised at UI tax bills
   -Are Covid 19 stimulus payments taxable? (No)
   -IRS sent 116,000 letters to MN eligible for economic impact payments
      (Deadline to apply if eligible is 11/21/20
—Governor signed Bonding Bill yesterday
   -Section 179 in it to align MN & Fed tax write offs. (Retro to 2018)
—Section on CENSUS
—WORKFORCE: Dart & Pool leagues and masks
—Will your company be in the press having received grants (yes)
—UI: What is DEED’s timeline to reimburse employers. Some forgiveness.
—Workman’s Comp: Must submit work related injuries
—What is Section 179?
—Face Shields (Only if said industry allows it)
—Who must prove got Covid at work? Employee or Employer?
2020 10 22 Call, DEED
Thursday, October 22, 2020
11:00 AM
Grace Arnold, Asst Commissioner of Commerce
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
Mark Simmer, staff, DEED
Steve Grove, DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner for ED, DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director, DEED
Nicole Blissenbach, DLI
Guest: Neal Young, Director of Economic Analysis, DEED, re census data particularly regarding new business starts
DEED, Steve Grove
  • Virus update
  • Trend lines in our health data are not promising. Seeing cases/100K continue to climb, now over 24/100K.
  • Positivity outpacing testing, over 6% case positivity rate now.
  • COVID fatigue is real… social gatherings are where we’re seeing more spread. Less so in business/bar/restaurant settings now.
  • The simple things, costing very little, will help us protect one another: mask, 6′ apart, stay home if sick, get tested…
  • Per Meredith Salsbery from METC in previous call, leading testing ops in the state… continue to stand up the saliva labs across MN. New ways to test in higher volume and turnaround within 48 hours. Encourage people to get tested.
  • WI,ND,SD, IA all have higher case rates than us. but borders are fluid so remain vigilant.
  • #GoodJobsNow campaign
  • Many businesses are hiring for good jobs right now. While the economy continues to face headwinds, our conversations with many of you, and with hundreds of businesses across the state, have revealed that despite the higher rates of unemployment brought on by the pandemic, there are still many companies who are struggling to find workers.
  • The #GoodJobsNow campaign that we’re launching later today seeks to amplify and create awareness for Minnesota businesses who are hiring right now. We know that for those Minnesotans who have lost their jobs, it’s hard to think about switching careers – but we want to work together to highlight opportunities and de-mystify some of the challenges of pursuing new industries.
  • Our simple goal is to connect job-seekers and employers. And we’d love your help.
  • We’re launching an interactive map with videos and posts from Minnesota employers highlighting their openings. Please share this opportunity with employers in your community who are hiring.
  • These videos or social media posts should include the hashtag #GoodJobsNow, and address some of the following topics:
  • Your name and company
  • One unique aspect about your company or culture that job seekers should know?
  • What jobs are you hiring for?
  • What skills are you looking for?
  • Do you offer on-the-job training for those skills?
  • How can people learn more about these opportunities?
  • Please encourage companies to post to social media, and share their posts with our team – specifically our communications director Jen Gates, who can be reached at jen.gates@state.mn.us or 651-358-0300.
  • You can follow the campaign on our DEED Twitter and Facebook pages
Commerce, Grace Arnold
  • Open enrollment and health insurance rates for 2021 is coming up.
  • May be new options, particularly in the individual market.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
  • As we see increase in community spread and transmission related to social gatherings, I want to highlight: increases need and importance of protocols in the workplace.
  • A lot of questions re leave provisions in federal legislation, FFCRA. Both expanded FMLA and the paid sick leave provisions.
  • As we move along, we’re getting closer to the end of those.
  • Expire on 12/31/2020. is hard to know if they will be extended, but as of right now they’re set to expire.
Revenue, Robert Doty
  • Several questions re unemployment compensation and taxability.
  • All UI is taxable income.
  • Can I withhold taxes from UI benefits? Yes. Is an option for the state to withhold on your behalf. If they don’t, you must set aside $ for tax obligation.
  • Are fed taxes taken out of the $600/$300? DEED is not able to withhold from this additional tax. You are responsible to set aside $ for future tax obligations.
  • What happens if I don’t save the $ for those taxes? You may owe may more income tax than expected for 2020.
  • Are COVID-19 stimulus payments taxable? No. not included in calc for fed income, MN income, or income from MN Property Tax refund.
  • IRS recently sent out 116K letters to Minnesotans eligible for economic impact payments but who have not yet claimed them. Revenue is helping. Deadline of 11/21/2020 for recipients to register to receive those pymts.
  • Yesterday, Governor signed the bonding tax/supplemental budget bill.
  • One provision in tax bill is Section 179 Provision. Retroactive to tax year 2018.
  • Because this is new we are still updating forms.
  • We ask that taxpayers who feel they may be affected…. Amend 2018 or 2019 returns… if you have questions, please call Revenue.
  • Others may have received bills already and we would, again, call the # on those bills and we can assist in addressing any issues.
Neal Young, Dir of Economic Analysis at DEED: Census data
  • Tool they (B: Census Bureau?) have created on socioeconomic impact of COVID on Minnesota.
  • https://mn.gov/deed/data/research/covid-19-impact/
  • Tool brings together census data tools. Experimental surveys that are more real-time… provides state-level data available on weekly or bi-weekly basis. This is quite new.
  • 3 Census Bureau surveys; household pulse survey, small business pulse, business formation statistics.
  • Regarding timing: household and small business pulse surveys are special, won’t last forever. Created due to COVID. First phase ran thru Jul. 2d phase is Aug-Oct. Census Bureau is currently exploring 3d phase with data collection potentially starting in Nov. I We expect this will be the case, and that they’ll continue into 2021.
  • Overview of some results of the data tool/survey
  • On household pulse survey, MN is ranked 7th in “telework,” with 43% of respondents indicating they telework as of 9/16-9/28.
  • On household survey, difficulty paying for HH expenses: MN ranked 4th at 23.5%. Ranked well relative to the nation, but that’s still a concerning #.
  • Food scarcity: MN ranks 6th lowest at 6.9% of respondents.
  • Expected loss of employment income: rank 19th at 19.1%.
  • The tool includes a map comparing MN to other states as well as trend data for MN. Trend data for MN: expected loss of employment income at 19.1% is significantly lower than reported in earlier periods. For ex, weekend of 5/14 that % was 34.8%. Down a lot as of the middle of Sep, but still concerning.
  • Small business pulse survey, measuring the degree of impact on small businesses (large or moderate): Large negative impacts have declined from 41.9% reported the week ending 5/2/2020, to 26.4% for the week ending 10/12. Again, positive movement, but still concerning. “large impact.”
  • Combine that with those identifying “moderate impact”: 73% of MN small business are claiming either moderate or large negative impacts from pandemic. Compared with 75% nationally.
  • Looking at funding received by small businesses: PPP has been the big tool. 78% of respondents had received. 2d largest funding source is EIDL, at 19%.
  • Small businesses asked how long before they anticipate returning to normal: 47% anticipate normal ops will take longer than 6 mths. That was the longest time period option. Bottom line here: don’t anticipate seeing recovery in short term.
  • Last survey, business formation statistics: looking at apps for employer ID #s. Data for entire year, week by week, compared to 2019… you can see that for Jan/Feb, we were more or less moving ahead with small growth. Mar-Jun all went very negative. Starting about middle of Jun, data went significantly positive again. Have seen very positive business formations into early Oct. For instance, in Oct 1st week, MN ranked relatively high at 19th in overall business formation.
  • Some trend lines are similar to other recessions, others are very different.
  • We will continue updating this as long as Census Bureau shares it.
1.   Workforce: we have gotten at least 3 cmty concerns sent to local public health re pool/dart players being unmasked. We’ve been told by public health they don’t need to be masked when shooting, and then masked at other times. Can you clarify? Grove: MDH did issue updated guidance re pool and darts. When you get into the space of activities where you’re moving around, you are transforming yourself into a more recreational environment. Clarification from MDH is that, when you move to pool/dart space, then capacity decreases to 25% for the bldg. That is one clarification. Talking to industry leaders about walling off areas, or using separate rooms…. Re the masking question: you should wear a mask when you’re playing darts. No reason not to. That’s our advice/guidance. Blissenbach: requirement people are wearing face coverings while up and moving around… that’s not only public health component but also worker safety component. I have not reviewed most current guidance re the pool/dart leagues so I have no more to add there.
2.   We’ve asked this before… what are requirements: are required to make company awardee names public or NOT to? Doty: that might be something I can look into… I don’t have a direct answer. Grove: when we give out state $, once $ is fully disbursed, we then announce the names. Counties (and others) can take that same approach. McKinnon: Also, if you are a public entity and you’re asked by someone for disclosing, you have no choice but to disclose.
3.   UI: What is DEED’s current timeline re reimbursing employers for furloughs/layoffs due to COVID-19 shut-downs? Grove: in UI system, tax paying employers and reimbursing. The irst pay payroll deductions every month. Reimbursing employers pay by case, by individual on UI. Those reimbursing bills have been delayed this year due to DLI helping by paying 1/2 those bills, discounted charges… and a state statute: when an active nature requires 25%+ of your employees to go on UI, some forgiveness there too. Sending out letters today to reimbursing employers about how we are tackling this. Will be issuing bills in Q4 for the balance of the year… building FAQs. Being very careful that no reimbursing employer pays no more than they should be, so must be case by case relative to state statute and DOL guidance.
4.   Workforce: as we’re seeing COVID attributed to cmty spread and not workplaces, how is it that workers comp plans re presumption from earlier this year or further efforts to further expand presumption to other classifications? Blissenbach: workers comp process requires that employers, when they have an illness/injury at work that could be related to work, they must submit that report of injury. Insurer is responsible for investigation to determine if that claim is denied or accepted. We are seeing in increased accepted claims in those industries/claims in industries with presumption. Will be up to Legislature to add more industries to that presumption. We are seeing some claims outside the presumption that are being accepted… (B note: I don’t really understand what “the presumption” means, asked for clarification for next week).
5.   What is Section 179? Doty: deals with depreciable property having to request rebate in the past.
6.   Workforce: we have employees that wear face shields due to job or health reasons. Being told by city that it’s not allowed, they are not eligible. Can you provide clarification? Blissenbach: industry guidance provides help re when face shields are adequate alternative. MDH also has put out guidance re which face shields. Coverings are required in most situations, but for identified situations within industry guidance.
7.   What does “the presumption” mean? Blissenbach: I workers comp law, there is a section that talks about communicable disease. Like COVID. Easily transmittable and infectious. Under workers comp law, before that additional language was added, the burden was on the employee to show they contracted the illness while at work. The Presumption took certain occupations and, instead of having burden on employee, it is presumed that, if they contract COVID, they contracted it at work – unless employer can prove they did not. We do have that in other areas of workers comp law, like first responders’ illnesses that are presumed to be work-related… included in last regular session of Legislature.
8.   General: we only have phone # to call in… I hear references to chat. Is that just for speakers? Grove: you can either call in or go to calendar invite and connect to Webex. Connect with mark.simmer@state.mn.us.
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